November 24th, 2014Fear: It’s a Scream!

Tara Pierce, M.H.


Believe it or not, short term fear can be beneficial to your health. It is a primitive emotion that we are all hardwired with and would not survive without. The physical effects of the fight or flight response can be invigorating, therapeutic, euphoric, and put an adrenaline filled smile on your lips. Experiencing fear in a safe environment such as a haunted house or movie theater can be a great way to learn how to react in a healthy way to such stimulus. Increased heart rate, increased blood flow to the extremities, rapid short breath, jumping, screaming and running are all natural reactions to fear. This is a proactive and positive response, the same response that kept our predecessors from life threatening danger.


The negative side of fear, is when we are in a prolonged stressful situation that can lead to a myriad of physical and psychological problems. Irrational fears and everyday stresses cause the release of cortisol and other stress hormones, which in large and prolonged amounts can result in adrenal problems, weakened thyroid, weight gain, loss of sleep, digestion and assimilation difficulties, mood changes and in extreme cases can become a disorder like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and anxiety.


The body doesn’t always recognize the difference between real and imagined fear, it simply responds to stimuli. Imagined fear is often of our own making and is often rooted in the question “What if?” It can rob you of who you have the potential to be and a life that is full of happiness and satisfying achievements. (A great article, 7 Things Fear has Stolen from You)


To help calm the body’s response, I would recommend reconnecting with yourself emotionally and spiritually. Practices such as meditation, prayer, Emotional Release Therapy, Rapid Eye Therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) etc. can be very helpful in identifying the reason for your fear. Once you understand the origin of the fear you can learn to let it go and move forward. To help in expressing your emotions, activities such as singing, music, dance, writing, painting, drawing etc. can be very beneficial.


To ease the symptoms of stress and anxiety, passion flower and wood betony combined can’t be beat. Use an equal amount of each herb as a tea, 1-3 times daily. These herbs are known to relieve anxiety, stress, nervous tension, insomnia, and depression. You will also find relief from the pain and discomfort caused by muscle tension and emotional turmoil.


Tara Pierce is a Certified Master Herbalist Graduate from The School of Natural Healing.

August 25th, 2014Adrenal Burnout

Tara Pierce M.H.


One of the Adrenal glands main functions is acting as a buffer to stress. They do not differentiate between physical and mental stress and respond in the same way to both. Every type of stress influences these glands; injury, divorce, work, finances, diets, pain, excessive exercise, junk food, kids, spouse, menstruation and so on. It is easy to get stuck in a stress cycle and over work these glands into burnout. Burnout is defined as a major breakdown in the energy producing systems of the body. It goes far beyond fatigue and can be devastating to every aspect of one’s life.


The number one symptom of Adrenal Burnout Syndrome is exhaustion or chronic fatigue. Some other symptoms are cravings for sweets or attraction to stimulants, difficulty with digestion, weight gain around the belly leaving arms and legs thin, inability to cope with daily life, hypoglycemia or diabetes, changes in mood and personality, depression, fears and phobias, anxiety, lack of interest in appearance, loss of concentration, shortness of breath, dark circles around the eyes, puffiness in the face and edema in the feet, and loss of muscle tone, among others. Adrenal burnout can be triggered by a single severe stress but more often it occurs slowly after years of imbalance in life and inadequate nutrition.


Recovering from adrenal burnout involves dedication to re-evaluating one’s life and making the necessary lifestyle changes to decrease and even eliminate unnecessary stress. A good clean diet full of live, whole foods is essential as is using plenty of digestive enzymes to boost assimilation of nutrients. I would also recommend doing Dr. Christopher’s Extended Herbal Cleansewith the addition of the Heavy Mineral Bugleweed Formula. To treat the burnout specifically I would add Dr. Christopher’s Adrenal, Thyroid Maintenance, and Master Gland Formula’s. Recovery can take time, but the more dedicated you are to treating yourself right the quicker you will regain your energy and strength to feel like yourself again.


Tara Pierce is a Certified Master Herbalist Graduate from The School of Natural Healing.

August 25th, 2014Essential Fatty Acids

Tonya Judd M.H.


Essential fatty acids are just what the name states, essential. Our bodies need EFA’s. Omega-3 fatty acids fight disease by reducing inflammation in the blood vessels and joints, protect our central nervous system, improves our mood, help with inflammation and joint pain, improve eyesight, positively affect cardiovascular health, help prevent age related macular degeneration and reduces blood sugar levels and triglyceride levels by eating only 1 ounce of EFA’s per day.


A deficiency in EFA’s can lead to mood swings and depression. Symptoms or signs of EFA deficiency in individuals include some of the following: dry skin, cracking skin on heels and fingertips, craving fatty foods, painful/stiff joints, poor muscle strength, hyperactivity, poor wound healing, learning/memory problems, dry hair, excessive thirst, and irritability to name a few.

EFA’s help with pregnancy and post-natal depression. EFA’s are passed to the baby in utero and help with the development of the brain. As the EFA’s are passed to the baby, this reduces the mother’s EFA levels, thus contributing to post-natal depression if the new mom is not consuming enough in her daily diet.

An amazing newer source for EFA’s is Sacha Inchi oil and Sacha Inchi seeds. Sacha Inchi grows in the highlands of Peru and the plant produces year after year and keeps producing for decades. The oil is derived from the cold pressing of the seeds and requires no refining. The oil is similar to olive oil but has a much lighter taste and the seeds (also called Incan peanuts) boast 50% oil content and have a nutty flavor when roasted. Sacha Inchi oil is an excellent source of amino acids, easily digestible proteins and nutrients. Sacha inchi exceeds fish oil and flax in omega-3 = 48% and omega-6 = 36%

High in fiber, high in tryptophan, no cholesterol, high in protein with a 27% protein content and is rich in iodine and vitamins A and E. Sacha Inchi oil and seeds are also an excellent source of amino acids. Another plus of Sacha inchi is that you can get all of your omegas in one shot…omega-3 (48%), omega-6 (35%) and omega-9 (9%) Sacha inchi has been shown to reduce blood sugar and triglyceride levels by eating just 1 oz. per day. Other sources of EFA’s include dark leafy greens such as spinach, flax seeds and flax oil, chia seed and purslane.

Keep in mind that when adding omega-3’s to your diet, it may take up to a month of use before you begin to see results.


Tonya Judd is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing and an Emotional Release practitioner.

June 30th, 2014Sceletium tortuosum

Mishelle Knuteson


Sceletium tortuosum commonly called Kanna is a small succulent groundcover plant from South Africa. As early as 1662 natives would harvest this plant, bury it to ferment it and then dry it. Once dried it was eaten, smoked, made into a tea or snuffed to reap its wonderful mood modifying~mind enhancing effects. Today this herb has been proven to be safe and effective in balancing the brain and nervous system which seems to relieve symptoms of depression.


The mood enhancing properties of Sceletium are primarily due to a group of alkaloids, notably mesembrine, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. These compounds interact with receptors in the brain, enhancing the production of dopamine, which is our primary inner pleasure chemical, and prolonging the activity of serotonin, a critically important mood compound. When ingested, Sceletium enhances the feeling of tremendous well-being, heightened awareness, mental alertness and a keen-mindedness that is quite pronounced. Any potentially harmful effects of oxalic acid compounds that are naturally found in the plant are reported to be alleviated by physically crushing the plant, fermenting and drying before use.


These feel good effects and terrific mental stimulation properties appear to make Sceletium a first-rate anti-depressant and anti-anxiety aid. People with low mental energy, mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety disorder could potentially be helped by its use. In one study of the effects of Sceletium reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the main alkaloids of the plant demonstrated the capacity to extend the activity of serotonin. This activity, known as SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibition, is essentially how pharmaceutical antidepressant drugs work. The difference with Sceletium is that it is a multi-compound plant. It is not chemically based and does not appear to demonstrate comparable hazardous side effects of the pharmaceutical antidepressants. Side effects can include gastrointestinal disorders, loss of sex drive, insomnia and exacerbated depression.


The recommended dosage is to start low then build if needed, one or two capsules a day. My son’s girlfriend is weaning from her medication to a more natural way and she is taking one capsule of Sceletium along with 3 capsules of Dr. Christopher’s MindTrac formula a day and seeing great results. The herbs should be taken after a meal because Sceletium can cause headaches and nausea if taken on an empty stomach.


In its long history of use, no significant adverse effects of Sceletium have been noted. This makes Sceletium a worthy candidate for consideration in cases of depression and anxiety.


Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

June 30th, 2014Spring Cleaning

Tara Pierce H


Ahhh the yearly tease of spring! Here in Utah it is common to hear the phrase, “Don’t like the weather? Wait 5 minutes, it will change!” During the spring this is especially true. Not only is it brutal on the gardens and orchards but on us physically and mentally. It seems this last ditch effort of the winter to hold on always sets loose the finale of the cold and flu season and can often bring us down for one more round of seasonal blues. Even though that new blanket of snow put off preparing the garden plot yet one more weekend, there is a silver lining!

Spring is a great time to do some cleaning…and what better place to start than our own bodies? A three day juice cleanse is great this time of year to help clear out the winter stores that can cause sluggishness and rejuvenate our bodies for spring. Apple, Grape, or carrot juices are all great choices for cleansing the blood and packing a punch nutritionally for every cell. Dr. Christopher knew that a clean body was a healthy body and taught all who would listen about this beginning step to wellness.

Begin each day with 16 ounces of prune juice. This not only helps to clear the bowels, but it draws toxins and waste from every part of the body into the intestines for elimination.

For 3 consecutive days you will consume only the one juice you have chosen. Fresh is best. One gallon per day for an average adult, plus plenty of distilled water.

Take one or two tablespoons of olive oil, three times a day.

You can also take Dr. Christopher’s’ Lower Bowel Formula during these three days if you feel backed up.

As you cleanse and replace the lymph and other fluids in your body, you will have times when you feel rough, even lousy. Plan ahead and set this time aside for you and your health. Follow the juice cleanse with a new commitment to eating healthier and enjoying all the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Tara Pierce is a Certified Herbalist and Master Herbalist Student at The School of Natural Healing.

April 8th, 2014Hope For Depression

-Mishelle Knuteson M.H.


I have been alarmed at the rate that people are taking their own lives. It just seems so much more common these days than I have ever noticed before. It saddens me a great deal. I know the toll that challenges can take in my own life and those that suffer from mental or emotional disorders may not have the knowledge or skills to cope when faced with difficult situations in their life. I am a proponent of positive thinking, yet I understand these mental and emotional maladies can create a hole deep within us that is debilitating and extremely hard for some to escape from.


To assist and help those around us with these tendencies, it is important that we are aware of changes in their behavior and appearance and respond quickly. Notice body language - are their shoulders slumped over more than usual, are they not taking care of their hygiene or nutrition or just shutting down, are they isolating themselves, are they using language such as, “I can’t take this anymore,”  or  ”they would be better off without me,” etc.

People can get so discouraged and lost. If we can pick up on these subtle changes mentioned above, it can allow more of an opportunity to assist and help. People struggling with depression need to know that they belong to someone or something bigger than themselves. They need to be aware that people care about them. They need to understand that they have a support system and that there is a place and purpose for them. Don’t assume that they know how important they are to you, tell them frequently. Further, tell them specifically how they support you.

Creating a plan for life gives hope and direction. Understanding that hope is never lost and miracles do occur can propel someone forward in the difficult moments. It is vital that people have something to look forward to in the future and to have a purpose for each day. This helps to bring the hope it takes to endure through the difficult times. Writing each day helps a person express and get things out that may be locked inside. Writing about hopes, future plans and people that are important can elicit self-encouragement and keep the purpose of life alive. Just the simple act of smiling will change a person’s energetic make up in the moment.  Expressions of gratitude for the simple things found in daily life can change a person’s outlook - even if it is just expressing gratitude that you can breath and your heart is beating. Fatigue is often a catalyst to more serious problems so make sure there is a plan for rest, relaxation and replenishing. If we do not take the time to be well, we will most certainly be given the time to be ill.

Believe it or not, intestinal issues are closely related to mental issues. Research has been done that demonstrates a direct connection between the “gut/brain axis”, so adding probiotics to a daily regime may almost act as an antidepressant in many of these situations. Approximately 80-90% of the human body’s total serotonin is located in the alimentary canal (gut). Gut health once again proves to be an important center in overall health. People with behavioral and physiological illnesses need to be conscious of getting a diet rich in nutrients from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Some of Dr. Christopher formulas that may assist are Vitalherbs for nutrition, Soothing Digestion to help the alimentary canal, MindTrac to feed the brain and St John’s Wort as a mood booster. I recently learned of an herb called Sceletium tortuosum, commonly called Kanna, that may also help as a booster. I will introduce you to that herb in my next newsletter.

There are natural solutions that are healing for the body and not just a bandaid. There is always hope of a better and brighter future. The School of Natural Healing is here for you, to help educate and bring healing through knowledge and truth. We are the ones that can assist our loved ones who may feel so desperate.


Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

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